Lockheed Super Constellation “CONNIE” VH-EAG


VH-EAG ‘Southern Preservation’ is in fact the militarised version of Lockheed’s famous range of Constellation aircraft which revolutionised air transport during the late 1940s and 1950s. It is similar to the Super Constellations used by Qantas during this period as their main long range passenger aircraft and pioneered their around-the-world service.

This service was the first such trans global service in world airline history.

‘Connie’ as it is affectionately known, was originally built as a C-121C for the United States Air Force, serial number 54-0157, c/n 4176, and was delivered on 6 October 1955 when it was allocated to the 1608th Military Air Transport Wing based at Charleston, South Carolina. On 25 July 1962 it was transferred to the Mississippi Air National Guard and on 14 February 1967 it moved on to West Virginia Air National Guard, where it served for the next five years. Connie’s last active duty was with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard from mid 1972 until its relegation to storage at Davis Monthan Air Base at Tucson, Arizona in June 1977.

In 1990 some Society members were in Tucson collecting Neptune spares and saw this derelict Super Constellation. In a moment of madness the thought occurred that it should be recovered to complete Australia’s aviation history and negotiations commenced for its acquisition.

Considered obsolete and of no further use, storage maintenance ceased in 1981 and as a result was designated of scrap value only. In addition most of the engine accessories and instruments had been cannibalised. Failure to re-seal the aircraft after an inspection permitted access to legions of birds to nest and foul the interior over many years. This in turn discouraged the scrap metal merchants from bidding on the aircraft due to the infestation of guano and the subsequent imperfections that it would cause in the smelting of the aluminium.

In November 1991, HARS started what was to become a major project when  54-0157 was placed in our care for restoration and delivery to Australia. Relying solely on volunteer labour and aiming at a high standard of restoration and serviceability, the project was to take five years. The restoration work commenced in May 1992 at Pima Air & Space Museum and in September 1994 the Super Constellation took to the air after nearly eighteen years on the ground. Another solid year of work was required to prepare the aircraft for the Pacific crossing and in late 1995 final flight training was undertaken. On 3 February 1996 the Super Constellation VH-EAG arrived in Sydney after an incident free crossing of 39.5 hours flying time. Stops on the delivery flight to Australia were made at Oakland, Honolulu, Pago Pago and Nadi.

The major difficulty in the restoration process was the need for the volunteers to continually travel to Tucson to carry out the restoration work. This was time consuming and costly. However, the assistance given by both organisations and the countless individuals in the US and Australia eased the volunteers’ burden and made the restoration process a rewarding experience.

Brief statistics on this project were:

•16,000manhourswereexpendedontheproject(allvolunteered)

•Some$800,000incashwasraised

•Approximately$1.2mwasraisedinsponsorshipservices

•47teamtripsweremounted,eachaveraging14days

•38hoursofcrewtrainingwasaccomplishedbeforethedeliveryflight

 

Lockheed super constellation "Connie" VH-EAG

Lockheed super constellation "Connie" VH-EAG

 

 

Aircraft Specifications

Lockheed L1049-F / C-121C Super Constellation Aircraft

Length 35.4 m 116 ft 2 in

Wing Span 37.5 m  123 ft

Height 7.5 m  24 ft 9 in

Maximum Take Off Weight Fuel

•115/145Octane(Not Available)62,370kg137,500lbs

•100/130LowLeadFuel54,545kg120,000lbs

Maximum Landing Weight

•115/145OctaneFuel(Not Available)51,256kg113,000lbs

•100/130LowLeadFuel46,039kg101,500lbs

Maximum Fuel Capacity  24,790 ltr  5453 Imp. gal

Total Engine Oil Capacity 830 ltr 186 Imp. gal

MaximumCruiseSpeed 480km/h 300mph(260kt)

Approach Speed 185 km/h  115 mph

Stall Speed

•Landing153km/h96mph(83kt)

•Clean194km/h119mph(104kt)

MaximumRange 5560kms 3450mls(2996nm)

Maximum Endurance 16.5 hrs 16.5 hrs

Maximum Cruise Altitude 7620 m 25,000 ft

Crew

•CivilVersion5technicaland4cabin

•MilitaryVersion4technicaland1cabin

Passengers

•CivilVersion59-87Qantasconfiguration

•MilitaryVersionUptoamaximumof106

Engines

Fuel injected, twin row 18 cylinder turbo compound supercharged radial engine

Civil Version 4 Curtiss-Wright TC18 EA3

Military Version 4 Curtiss-Wright R3350-93A

Power Plant Weight 2702 kg  4568 lbs

Displacement 55 ltr  3350 cu in

Maximum Power

•115/145OctaneFuel(Not Available)2535kW3400hp

•100/130LowLeadFuel2148kW2880hp

CruisePower(Typical at 200 Knots) 1080kW 1450hp

FuelConsumption(Per hour/engine at cruise) 445ltr 100Imp.gal

OilConsumption(Per hour/engine at cruise) 9ltr 2Imp.gal

RPM

•TakeOff2900

•CruiseTypical2200

•Idle800

MaximumMAP(Manifold Pressure)

•115/145OctaneFuel(Not Available)54”

•100/130LowLeadFuel52”

Other Important Information

Eachenginehas3exhaustpowerrecoveryturbinesdelivering112kW/150hpeach(at take off)

Overhaul Life  Subject to condition, but generally

US Airfoce 2700 hr

US Navy 3400 hr

PropellorsHamiltonstandard43H60.3blade(aluminium),

constant speed, full feathering, reversible.

Propellor RPM  Approximately half engine speed